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Wayne Hemingway: Markets and Me

Wayne Hemingway and wife Geraldine at the Classic Carboot, London Southbank

I Love Markets Interviews the man behind the

Classic Car Boot

When you think of famous people who have found success at London’s Markets, Wayne Hemingway is the ultimate market maverick. As an avid collector and passionate designer, markets have long been a source of inspiration. Now his passions are brought to life at events like The Vintage Festival and the hugely successful Classic Carboot. We catch up with Wayne to find out why markets matter.

Your career started at Camden Market how did that come
Without doing Camden Market we wouldn’t be where we are today. I was playing in a band, we had no money, so we emptied out wardrobes took a hundred quid and that was it. From there Red or Dead was born.
Do you ever visit Camden now?
Occasionally I do visit Camden, but it’s a different place now. Things evolve don’t they. It was for a while the centre of cool, probably in Europe. It’s far from that now. There’s still stuff to be found there, you just need to dig a bit deeper and go past all of that.
Do you visit any of London’s other markets?
Yes, Brick Lane has got a lot of the cooler elements that Camden had in the early 1980s and Portobello on the whole has managed to avoid what Camden has become. There’s still a lot of very good markets in London.

Why do you love visiting markets? 

If you’re into design and new things, as well as old, and if you’re into the independent spirit, then you’re always going to get a kick out of markets and find something to buy.

Where do you think the next up and coming market might be in
Well it happens when things are priced out. So when things become too expensive and you have to find somewhere cheaper to trade or if you find some land that is going to be empty for a long time before anyone  decides to build on it, that how new markets are founded. What you still need as a trader is customer flow. That’s why Portobello remains a place where you can make money. That’s why people still go and set-up in Camden, because it’s got tens of thousands of people. That’s why
we do our Classic Carboot Sale in high traffic locations. We can attract 5000 of our own followers, but if you can make that ten thousand from people who are just passing and they spend money, it will be for the traders.
Other than footfall what other ingredients do you think you
need to make a successful market?
Well the main thing is footfall and that happens in accessible places, so the two go together really. You can’t have a successful market without a high footfall. You would have to do an amazing job at
marketing without that. Obviously you get some like really big carboot sales in a field, but those take a long, long time to become established. 

Do you think markets play an important part in community?
Yes of course. They’re important on a number of different levels. Number one, on a taste level, some people genuinely do prefer to shop in markets, rather than to go into a mall. I’m included in that. Markets also have a sense of camaraderie and a sense of togetherness that big shopping centres could never have. There is also something about being outdoors, which appeals. There’s a buzz about markets and you also naturally feel that you might find a bargain, because you know that people who are selling have less overheads. You also know that you’re likely to find something that’s quirkier. The most important role that they play is that they give somebody the chance to give something a go with an idea that they have. 
What type of markets do you like visiting it the vintage
fair or the carboot sale for example?
Well I don’t go to carboot sales anymore as they’ve just become places to get rid of your old broken kettle or something. They serve a purpose but they don’t serve a purpose for me. That’s why we started the Classic Carbootsale as it serves a purpose for our demographic and we’re good
at that.
Is that where the idea for the Classic Carboot came from, to fulfil your own desire to have a market that you’d like to go to?
Well that’s where all good designers get there ideas from, when they understand the markets in their own desires. We design like that and we create like that. We don’t have that narrow tastes. If we’d like to go then other people will too. 
What can visitors going to the Classic Carboot expect?
Well they’re going to see something that they’ve never seen before. They’re going to see fantastic and amazing classic cars which is a thing in its own right. It might be a more male orientated thing but there’s also a lot of beautiful women in looking at those cars as well. They’ll find something chained with that, which is really well selected things for sale. People who have got classic cars, usually have taste and they also collect other things. You going to see some amazing people getting rid of excess clothing, homeware, furniture, records, collectables, magazine. Lots of people upcycling and people generally with very good taste. A lot of people aren’t doing this on a regular basis, they’re doing this two or three times per year with us, so you’ll see fresh stock, where on the whole, pricing is a lot cheaper than if it were from people who are doing this as a fulltime business. If people want a bargain they should get down there early at 10am. 
On top of that we’ve got about forty street food sellers all in different classic vehicles. You’re getting Music, DJs and bars which you wouldn’t normally get at a carboot sale. You don’t normally get a double decker bus with really good, highly selected DJs on from our Vintage Festival crowd. We’ve got street performers. It’s a festival basically but its just £4 to get in. 
The perfect location for a market. The Classic Carboot at London’s Southbank Centre

Were the traders easy to find, are there a lot of people out
there with classic cars and things to sell?

You wouldn’t be able to find them unless you had our database. We’ve been doing the vintage festival for 4 years, we’ve got 130,000 people on it. We didn’t know if we could achieve it, but we have.

Will there be lots of people getting dressed up, is that
another part of what makes the event unique?

There isn’t that much opportunity to get glamorous and it does give people that chance. At the Classic Carboot you don’t get everyone dressing up, but about 20% of people will wearing vintage clothes.
Vintage Glamour at the Classic Carboot, London Southbank
Is there any award for the best dressed person in
Yes, we have what’s called “Best in Show” which could be the best dressed man, women or family. We do “Best in Show” for the person with the best stock, the best car. It’s all just a bit of fun. Winners get a bottle of champagne and a rosette.  
So will you be shopping at the event too?
Yes we did last time, we bought loads.
What’s the biggest market bargain you’ve ever had?
Well there are loads being a collector myself. We own a museum called the Land of Lost Content which is full of things we’ve bought from markets over the years. It’s at Craven House in Shropshire. The collection is also digitalised as a creative resource for students and academics. 
So what else is in the pipeline for this year?
Well we’ve got the Vintage Festivals. There’s one in Glasgow in July as part of the Common Wealth Games and there’s Morecambe in September. People should sign up to the Hemingway Design website. There’s loads going on and we do a newsletter. Markets are a big part of what we do and people just love it.
The Classic Car boot will be back in 2015. Watch this space!
Interview by Katie Ingham, Director, I Love Markets

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